KINGSTON — The Government of Jamaica is seeking to amend the financial statutes, to combat unlawful ponzi schemes.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, made the disclosure as he responded to questions from Opposition Spokesperson on Finance, Dr. Peter Phillips, in the House of Representatives on May 31.
Mr. Shaw said the amendments will be made to the Securities Act and the Financial Institutions Act, to combat illegal financial operations. He also stated that certain civil remedies are being proposed.
“One of them, which would be a very good example, is that of giving the Financial Services Commission (FSC) the ability, upon sufficient evidence being garnered, to take control of the entity suspected of operating a ponzi scheme. That would be an immediate civil remedy,” Mr. Shaw explained.
“Secondly, the possibility of imposing monetary penalties on such illegal operations, and thirdly the possibility of seeking to give the FSC the power, upon taking control, to capture whatever funds remain and be able to distribute those funds and give it back to the investors,” he added.
Mr. Shaw also stated that it has been recommended that the FSC be named as a complainant to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in cases against ponzi schemes.He explained that, in the current system, the FSC itself cannot be a complainant, as the complainant has to come to the FSC, which would prepare the files and send them to the DPP.
The FSC is an integrated regulator of financial services, brought into existence by the Financial Services Commission Act, August 2001. It administers the Insurance Act, Securities Act, Unit Trusts Act and Pensions (Superannuation Funds and Retirement Schemes) Act.
It is responsible for supervising and monitoring 1,980 licensees and registrants, as well as 522 pension funds and retirement schemes.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter